There are certain action films that require alterations to the garments, to allow ease of action.
– Betsy Heimann.
In episode #135 I speak to costume designer Betsy Heimann who I’ve spoken to previously about Green Book, The Tomorrow War and Out of Sight. Betsy talks about making the ‘Hero Suit’ with plus some talk about her work on Rush Hour 3, Red Dragon and more. Below are some moments transcribed from my chat with Betsy. The podcast is available to listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify or in the player below. You can also catch our chat on YouTube.
Betsy what is a Hero Suit?
My reference for this is Rush Hour 3. I approach it as a suit, some designers that do superheroes might call it a cape. A stand in cape, a flying cape, they do different things.
Your hero suit appears in most of the scenes, but then if you’re in a big fight there are alterations. There is a gusset in the armpit, so when I punch you it doesn’t rip the armhole. The rest of the time you have a nice sleek sleeve, but the rest of the time you have a gusset. Same with the legs. Nowadays there are stretch in men’s suitings, which is helpful. But even with pants you have to put in some hidden gussets. It’s the mastery of tailoring. Then you have a suit on a wire if you dangle on the side building you need to cut through the suit to attach the wires.
Do you have special tailors to do that for film?
For modern film, you need a good tailor. For Jackie Chan I got the tailors at Giorgio Armani to do that for me. I had a very good relationship with Mr Armani and his brand he made a lot of things for me, special. We shot Rush Hour 3, a lot of it in Paris and Mr Armani sent a tailor over from Milan. He gave me my choice of fabrics and I gave him my drawings for the suits. So they made the suits for me for Jackie Chan, they also made the stunt suits.
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All screen grabs used here under the fair use doctrine. With thanks to Betsy Heimann for her time and patience. Please view her amazing showreel here.